Big jump in Plant Quarantine fee on imported cotton leaves textile manufacturers in a tizzy

L N Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on January 11, 2018

A recent gazette notification from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare revising the Plant Quarantine (PQ) fee on raw cotton imports has sent shock waves among textile industrialists here.

The Plant Quarantine (Regulation of Import into India) Order came into force in 2003. This fee is payable at the PQ office at the time of clearance of the consignment from the port.

According to an industrialist (who preferred anonymity), “The PQ inspection fee has been revised from ₹2,500 for the first tonne of the consignment to ₹3,500, and from ₹75 to a whopping ₹2,000 for each additional tonne. PQ supervision charges also have been revised to ₹1,500 per consignment from ₹1,000.”

The implication is huge, he said, explaining the working. “For instance, if 100 tonnes of raw cotton are imported, the total PQ fee payable as per the existing rate workout to ₹10,925 — that is, ₹2,500 x1 (tonne) + ₹75 x 99 (tonnes) + ₹1,000 (supervision fee). But at the new rate, it would work out to ₹2.03 lakh — ₹3,500 x 1 (tonne) + ₹2,000 x 99 (tonnes) + ₹1,500. There is no justification for this,” the mill owner said.

“Plant”, as defined in the notification, refers to a “living plant or parts thereof, including the seed and the germplasm; and “plant product” refers to un-manufactured material of plant origin, including grain, and those manufactured products that engender the risk off introduction and spread of pests.

Industry sources contend that raw cotton can neither be classified a plant nor a plant product and therefore the PQ fee on raw cotton is unjustifiable.

It remains to be seen how the industry would tide over the issue

Published on May 15, 2017

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